All Wrapped Up Vol. 1 (Collection)
by Dakota Cassidy and Kate Hill and Angela Knight
eBook ISBN: 978-1-60521-552-5
Angela Knight — Blood Service
Adiva Mayhew is a spy — and a damn good one. But now she’s running for her life from a deadly bounty hunter — who’s also a Vampire…
Dakota Cassidy — Slave School Dropout
Nyla is a cat. So is Lucas. Nyla is an Egyptian Mau, descendant of the Goddess Bast. Lucas… isn’t. In fact, he’s a Tom cat. Unlikely lifemates at best.
Kate Hill — Tainted Kisses
Niabi’s only choice is to strike a bargain with Etlu — the humans’ lives in exchange for her complete surrender to his desires.
Tainted Kisses by Kate Hill
Land of the Scots, 797
Closing his eyes, Aru drew a deep breath, relishing the scent of death. Too long had he waited for this moment. In the beginning, there had been no worldly creature with the power to destroy him. Then they had arrived. Sent by the Spirit of Good, a new breed of blood drinker that hunted and killed his kind. One in particular had been thwarting him for centuries, following so close at his heels that he scarcely had time to indulge in destruction, but left the deadliest deeds to his offspring. Today’s bloodbath had been his first real taste of utter violence in longer than he cared to remember. The excitement of crushing the life from hundreds of feeble mortals, feeling their tender flesh tear beneath his fangs and gulping their rich blood almost overwhelmed him.
What he couldn’t drink, he and his army spilled, dousing the dry ground until it turned to burgundy mud beneath their boots. Their amusement was over now. The village lay in ruins. No man, woman, or child had survived his army’s attack.
Already most of his men had ridden off. Only Kedar, his most favored son, remained with him among the rubble and broken bodies.
Then he heard it.
So faint it was almost indiscernible even to immortal ears.
A human heartbeat. But from where?
“I thought they were all dead,” Aru growled.
“They are, Master.”
“Listen! Can you not hear it?”
Kedar’s brow furrowed as he strained to listen. Being only an offspring of a true blood drinker, his senses were not as sharp as his Creator’s. Aru had been made by the Spirit of Evil itself, sent to walk the earth spreading horror and pain. Though his gift could be passed on to mortals through his bite, his offspring didn’t possess all his otherworldly abilities.
Finally a faint smile touched Kedar’s lips. “Yes. A heartbeat.”
Grunting in reply, Aru strode among the bodies, seeking the mortal who dared live after such a marvelous attack. He paused beside a woman splattered with blood. Using his foot, he rolled her onto her back, revealing a very pregnant belly.
Aru drew a sharp breath, his own heartbeat quickening in time with that of the mortal. “Kedar. Come here. Quickly.”
“Did you find the survivor, my Master?”
“Yes.” Aru nodded toward the woman.
With a snarl, Kedar drew his sword and raised it for the death blow, but Aru caught his arm in a savage grip. “No. Carefully.”
“Do you not understand? She isn’t alive. It’s the creature in her womb.”
“The child has survived?”
“You know what this means.” Aru could scarcely contain his rapturous grin. Again he closed his eyes and spoke silently to the Evil One. Thank you, Master of Wickedness. Since the beginning I have awaited this moment. It was not something I could take, but something that had to be given. Opening his eyes, he continued, “The creature in her womb has been sent to me. Unlike the other blood drinkers I have created, he will be mine to shape from the beginning. A creature born in the midst of death. His life will be one of rage and torture. His heart will be cold and merciless. He will be flawlessly wicked, made in the image of the Evil One. Remove him from her womb. Be cautious. I don’t want him harmed. Yet.”
Kedar did as his Master bid, then placed the squalling, bloody infant in Aru’s waiting hands. Staring at it, Aru murmured, “Excellent. A male child. We must find a woman to provide him with milk. It will be taken from her and fed through a bladder, for he must never know a mother’s touch. The revolting emotions these mortals revel in will not taint him. No kindness, gentleness, and most important of all, no love. He must never, never be loved. When he is old enough, I will Change him and he will be the perfect living demon.” Aru glanced at Kedar with a taunting look. “Yes, my son, even more perfect than you.”
Kedar’s jaw clenched visibly and he stared at the screaming infant with hatred.
Excellent. Let the rivalry start now. Kedar would no doubt make this child’s life even more miserable than Aru had first imagined. Raised in fury. Born in death. He would become the most faithful of Aru’s minions. “He will be called Etlu.”